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The Six GCC Members Want A Diplomatic, Military Confederation

Iranian moves in the Gulf have made the six member GCC nervous. A diplomatic and military confederation may be on the region's horizon.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 4/13/2011, 7:33 PM / Last Update: 4/13/2011, 9:07 PM

The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are discussing setting up a Gulf confederation, Kuwait's Al Seyassah daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, which comes as tensions mount between Shiite Iran and the Sunni-ruled Gulf states, the proposed  confederation would have a unified foreign, defence and security policy, but each of the six countries would retain their independence and sovereignty.

Quoting unamed highly placed sources, the report said such a move will help Gulf Arab states confront challenges and threats from Iran to their security, sovereignty and independence.

"The confederation is seen as a crucial development after the blatant Iranian interference in Bahrain's domestic affairs and Tehran's repeated attempts to undermine the security and stability of the Gulf states through mercenaries working for the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence services even though they have Arab nationalities," the paper quoted the sources as saying.

The GCC secretariat is coordinating "wide and expansive" talks between senior officials in GCC countries with the ideal outcome being the formation of a confederation.

Under the confederation plan, a single foreign affairs ministry will be in charge of the GCC relations with other countries and the six Gulf states will have only one common embassy in foriegn countries, which in turn will have only one diplomatic mission in the Gulf.

The Gulf countries would also turn the existing Peninsula Shield, their military cooperation arm, into a fast intervention force with higher military and fighting capabilities to repel regional threats and confront plots to undermine stability in any of the six member countries.

"The competent agencies in the Gulf countries will also unify their combat training and will hold massive military manoeuvres involving land, sea and air forces annually," the sources said.

"The Gulf states will activate and reinvigorate their agreements and will sign new ones while speeding up the implementation of the accords on the customs unions and oil policies," the sources said.

The proposed GCC force would be mere kilometers from Israel via the Gulf of Aqaba. Its effects on Arab-Israeli relations as a separate entity from the Arab league remains unknown.kilometers from Israel via the Gulf of Aqaba.

Map Source: Wikimedia Commons